It's time to move on.
By Heather Gray
He didn’t ghost on you. He respected you.
Let. Him. Go.
Ladies, and you know who you are…
He showed up. He looked you in the eye and he ended it. He was nice about it, maybe even sweet. No naming. No blaming.
He might have said he still loved you. He might have said it just isn’t the right time, you’re in two different places, and you don’t want the same things.
Maybe he told you it’s him. He’s going into a busy time and just can’t give you or the relationship the time you deserve.
He might have said that he realized that he’s just not ready for something serious and he can tell that you are.
Whatever his reasons, whatever his word choice, you have got to believe him.
You have to believe the man who is looking you in the eye and breaking your heart.
Don’t question him, over-analyze, or decide to “be patient and wait.”
If he’s not asking you to, you’re wasting your time. If he is asking you to, you’re probably still wasting your time.
I know men can get caught in this trap, too, when their relationships end, but I am getting letter after letter from women all asking the same questions:
Is it really possible that he still loves me and is ending it anyway?
He says we just got too serious too soon. I agree. Can I just back off and try again?
He’s starting a new job and I know that’s a crazy time to start a new relationship. Am I nuts for waiting 6 months?
I can tell he’s just going through something and I want to help him. I’m not going to let him push me away.
His last girlfriend really did a number on him. I think he’s just scared to trust me and with more time…
I know he still loves me. I can feel it. There has to be another way.
Yes, people end relationships when they are still in love.
It happens all the time. You see, being in love is a feeling. You get to have it, experience it, and enjoy it.
Loving, though, is a verb.
It’s an action. It’s work. It requires time, energy, focus, and attention. For relationships to work, both people have to be ready to do that work, to put that feeling into action, at the same time.
For some, that feeling can come at a really inconvenient time. It doesn’t always wait until everyone is ready with all of their ducks in a row. It can come too soon after a breakup, during a big life transition, or before someone is ready to make a real commitment.
People can be in love but not capable of putting that love into action by entering a relationship.
It feels like you’ve been played.
I get it. You’re hurt. Confused. It feels like you’ve been played. If he knew he wasn’t ready for something serious, why did he ask you out in the first place?
Was he just trying to hook up? Was everything a lie?
You may have, in fact, been played but it’s also possible that you weren’t. You see, when it comes to feelings, people make mistakes and create stories all the time.
They think their feelings can be controlled.
They go into something knowing they aren’t ready for something serious. They may even say as much to you. Then, without warning, love hits them like a Mack truck, right between the eyes and they aren’t prepared for that. They thought they could keep the reigns on something, just have some fun, and prevent anything from becoming too serious.
Love doesn’t work that way, though. It’s unruly, unpredictable, and difficult to control.
Yes, some people are just players but for some, they really believed they had it all under control. They didn’t plan on feeling more than they were ready to deal with but it happens and suddenly, they are in an awful position of breaking your heart.
They’re not ready but really want to be.
I lived this. It was a lifetime ago but I can still feel that love like it was yesterday.
I know the intensity that keeps you standing still and waiting. I lived it and I, too, had to learn from it.
There was a man who really loved me. He just wasn’t capable of showing up for that love. He had his darkness, his pain, and his demons. They prevented him from being able to get and stay close to me.
Every time we got close, he ran. I was consumed by that closeness so I would wait. He’d come back, looking almost tortured. He was crying when he said he loved me and I believed him. The intimacy would scare him and he’d leave again.
Yes, he loved me. He wanted to stay. He wanted to be the man who stayed but he wasn’t ready for the vulnerability that comes with staying.
I hold those truths equally: He loved me and he wasn’t capable of loving me in the way that I deserved or that he wished he could. I needed to let go, even though I knew we loved each other deeply.
It takes work to be relationship ready.
It just happens that way sometimes. People can think they’ve done the work to be ready for a new love. They believe they have themselves all figured out, that they have conquered their demons, that they are ready for whatever comes next.
It’s not until that theory is tested that they realize that isn’t true. Sometimes it’s not until you’re in it that you realize you aren’t ready for it, that there is more work to be done. They didn’t lie. They didn’t mislead. They just didn’t know.
You can be the right woman, just not right for them.
It’s true. You can have everything going for you, be perfect in so many ways, and still just not be the right combination of everything someone needs.
It’s maddening. It just works that way, sometimes, and it hurts like hell. You have to feel it, though.
You have to go through it before you can move on and get on the other side of it all.
You have to accept it and you have to let him go.
As long as you’re waiting for the person who broke up with you, you’re standing still. You don’t get to find out the ending to your story when you’re stuck being a chapter in his.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.